The claimant widower received £325,000 for the death of his wife following the failure to diagnose renal cancer between April 2003 and February 2005.
The claimant (C) was the widower and administrator of the estate of the deceased (X) who died on October 12, 2008, aged 45.
Clinical Negligence: On April 3, 2003, X presented at the defendant GP (D) with lumbar and renal pain in addition to intermittent frank macroscopic haematuria, which had persisted for one year. D made a diagnosis of renal colic despite the fact that X had previously attended at a hospital on January 31, 2002, with a three-day history of burning dysuria and frequency with additional haematuria and suprapubic pain.
On January 12, 2004, X attended on her practice nurse with a complaint of epigastric pain of one month's duration, blood in her stools and dysuria with frequency of micturition. X had epigastric tenderness on examination and was referred for an urgent gastroscopy. In the interim she was treated with Cimetidine tablets and oral Gaviscon with Trimethoprim tablets. X was seen on approximately six occasions by D with diverse conditions including blood pressure, an eye infection and hammer toe. On November 12, 2004, she presented with a urinary tract infection and was treated with Trimethoprim tablets. Further investigations were normal. It was not until February 9, 2005, that D referred her to a hospital. She was seen as an outpatient on April 6. On August 15, X had a radical right nephrectomy and the histology confirmed renal cell carcinoma of predominantly grade 3 with areas of grade 2 and grade 1. She was noted to have toxicity, grade 2 alopecia, grade 1 rash, fatigue, grade 2 hand-foot symptoms and angina-like pain.
In addition to the domestic house work, following the nephrectomy operation on August 15, 2005, X required family members to help her to go to the toilet and she required assistance with bathing, dressing and feeding. She required all her food and drinks preparing for her.
From September 2006, X needed more help and assistance as the side effects of her medication made her very ill. The skin came off her feet and she required assistance walking. From October 2007, care and assistance was required 24 hours a day as X was unable to take care of herself and struggled to sleep at night, being in constant pain.
X underwent several cycles of Sorafenib and received palliative care prior to her death in October 2008.
X died and C brought an action under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, on behalf of the estate of X, against D alleging that he was negligent in (i) wrongly diagnosing X's condition as renal colic; (ii) failing to comprehend the history of a frank macroscopic haematuria in combination with the other clinical findings indicating a potential serious renal or urological pathology that mandated specialist referral; (iii) failing to urgently refer X to a specialist urologist or nephrologist; (iv) failing to comply with the 2000 NHS referral guidelines "Macroscopic haematuria in adults, microscopic haematuria in adults over 50, Urological Cancers: Guidelines for urgent referrals" which mandated urgent referral. C alleged that had X been properly assessed by D, she would have been referred on an urgent two-week basis and would have been investigated in any event within 30 days of her referral. Renal cancer would have been diagnosed and X would have proceeded to an immediate nephrectomy and, on the balance of probabilities, there would have been no metastatic disease. C alleged that X would have survived with a full or substantially full life expectancy.
Injuries: X died.
Effects: C lost his wife.
Out of Court Settlement (approved): £325,000 total damages
The case was settled on a global basis with no particular breakdown of damages. However, the following breakdown was estimated by the claimant's solicitors:
Breakdown of general damages:
Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £70,000;
Interest on PSLA: £350;
Future dependency claim: £65,726;
Future loss of services: £71,000;
Loss of earnings: £26,000;
Lump sum from pension: £3,997;
Funeral costs: £1,937;
Bereavement award: £11,800.
Breakdown of special damages:
Past travel and miscellaneous expenses: £4,000;
Past care and assistance: £44,000;
Past dependency: £10,000;
Past loss of services: £13,490;
Interest on special damages: £2,700.
Timothy Meakin instructed by Russell-Cooke for the claimant. Edward Bishop QC instructed by Medical Defence Union for the defendant.
This Quantum Report was provided courtesy of Terry Lee and Daniel O'Keeffe of Russell-Cooke, solicitors for the claimant.
Total Damages: £325,000 (£327,615.42 RPI) PSLA: £70,000 (£70,563.32 RPI)
Trial/settlement date: 2/8/2011
Type of Award: Out of Court Settlement (approved)
Judge: Master Eyre
Age at trial: Deceased
Court: Out of Court Settlement (Approved, QBD)
Age at injury: 45
Sex: Male Female